The area was first inhabited by the Cowichan ("Land Warmed by the Sun") Nation, encompassing all the independent bands in the valley. The colonial government did not allow non-native settlement in the area until 1862, and although there were 18 200 ha of good agricultural land available, growth was slow until the valley was reached by the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway in 1886. William Chalmers Duncan, a farmer, led a petition for a station, which was built on his land in 1887. The city was named after him and his son, Kenneth, was its first mayor.
Duncan became the service centre for the valley's main industries, lumbering and agriculture. Copper was found and mined between 1897-1908. Tourism is also important and Duncan is internationally known as the "City of Totems." More recently, Duncan's mild climate has attracted retired people.
Author ALAN F.J. ARTIBISE Rev: KEN FAVRHOLDT
Links to Other Sites
The official website for the City of Duncan, BC.
See maps and statistical data for regions and communities throughout British Columbia. A Government of British Columbia website.
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Duncan Totem Tour
This tour features historical highlights, legends, and myths associated with the 26 totem poles located in downtown Duncan. From the Duncan Business Improvement Area Society website.
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